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Question

Ending a Tenancy (England) | England | Landlord Wants Tenant to Leave (England)

Can a landlord start proceedings for arrears/possession if receiving direct payment from Universal Credit?

20 Jul 2021 | 3 comments

I have a landlord with a tenant in 4+ months of arrears who I served a Section 8 and 21 to, expiring 09/08/21.

The tenant got into arrears back in August 2020. Direct payment was set up in October but delayed until January 2021 due to a mix up at the Universal Credit offices. They had been paying £40.99 each month towards the arrears as well as the rent since January. The tenant then changed her claim to a joint one in April 2021 which meant direct payments stopped but as the tenant wasn’t making any rent payments to me, I had to re-apply for them in May. I have received one rent payment in June but nothing towards arrears. The tenant has consistently been in at least 2 months arrears since last August. Notice was served in February 2021.

The landlord wants to go to court for possession as soon as soon as he can but reading the Pre-Action Protocol;

2.6 Possession proceedings for rent arrears should not be started against a tenant who can demonstrate that –

(a) the local authority or DWP have been provided with all the evidence required to process a housing benefit or universal credit (housing element) claim;

 

Does this mean that the landlord cannot in fact take action? He is owed £2836.04 (rent £580pcm). The tenants are not keeping the property in good order and have had the Police and Social Services called to the property a couple of times hence wanting them to leave.

If he can’t go to court over the arrears, can he still get possession via the Section 21?

 

Answer

3 Comments

  1. guildy

    The pre-action plan is not legislation and doesn’t affect the outcome. The only thing it might do is delay any hearing date where those who have followed will be favoured.

    However, to date we’ve not had any feedback from anybody about courts questioning about the pre-action plan. We think it’s there to reduce numbers but once court proceedings are in motion it doesn’t seem to be important.

    Of course, now we’ve just said that, the landlord could get questioned about it causing delays! We would have expected at least some feedback by now if it was a common issue though.

    The easiest will be section 21 accelerated possession but that doesn’t include a claim for arrears.

    Or, if the landlord wants judgment for the arrears too then proceed against the section 8. (It’s possible to add arrears to a section 21 but that can get a bit complicated and not commonly used).

  2. kaysproperty

    I wonder if I should maybe just send the tenant a short letter to inform her the landlord will be taking the next steps towards possession once the notice period expires so she knows he’s not kidding.

  3. guildy

    You can do if you wish, it shouldn’t do any harm.

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